News / 05.08.19

Zinaida Mikhnyuk: MPs fear to go against initiator of "parasite" ordinance

The House of Representatives (the lower House of the People's Assembly – the Belarusian Parliament, – note of the REP News) sees no reason to appeal to the Constitutional Court on the constitutionality of Ordinance No. 3; and the Council of the Republic (the upper House) would not even consider the issue on its merits.

"Due to the absence in practice of any controversial issues related to categorizing citizens as 'employed'/'non-employed' [in the national economy], in our opinion, the introduction of the definition of the term 'non-employed citizens' into the legislation seems superfluous <...> we believe that there are no grounds for applying to the Constitutional Court of the Republic of Belarus with the aim of declaring Point 5 of Ordinance No. 3 as contradicting Constitution of the Republic of Belarus," writes Tamara Krasovskaya, an MP and the chair of the commission on labour and social issues of the House of Representatives, in her answer to the request of the REP Trade Union regarding the constitutionality of Presidential Ordinance No. 3.

"The Constitution of the Republic of Belarus does not provide for such a legal notion as 'capable citizens non-employed in the national economy', therefore, Point 5 of 'temporary' Ordinance No. 3 obliging this category of citizens to pay increased utility bills is contrary to the Constitution," the REP Trade Union argued in its request.

The Council of the Republic went even further and did not even consider it reasonable to consider the appeal on the merits. The initiative appeal is not accompanied "by a copy of the decision of a state body or a copy of a general jurisdiction court decision, who used the regulatory legal act, the constitutionality of which has caused doubts," responded V. Sirenko, the chair of the commission on education, sciences, culture and social development.

So far, the Council of Ministers and the Supreme Court, where similar appeals were sent by the union, are keeping silent.

"Our MPs are afraid to move against the customer of the ordinance; therefore they are putting a good face on the matter," said Zinaida Mikhnyuk, the acting chair of the REP Trade Union. (The ordinance was adopted in a rush, without any broad discussion with people. The International Labour Organization (ILO) has stated that it contains elements of forced labour; and the ordinance itself degrades human dignity. Instead of exercising its right and initiate a consideration of the ordinance for its constitutionality, the House of Representatives sent another formal answer to us, thereby demonstrating its own impotence."

The union leader has added that the authorities fail even to perform the ordinance as it is:

"Authorities fail to create new jobs that could allow the citizens 'not engaged in the national economy' to earn at least the floor salary. We, as a public association, have exercised our right and appealed to supreme state bodies. But we are not going to stop at this."

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